I know its been a long time since I’ve updated y’all, and I apologize for that. Since I last spoke to many of you, A LOT has happened and my plate has been very, very full recently. As my time with YASC in Costa Rica is coming to an end (coming home July 10th!), I thought in this blog post I would reflect on some of the things I have learned this past year. As an educator, I think sometimes we freak out that our students aren’t learning enough, our lesson plans aren’t perfect, etc, but this has also been a huge learning experience for me, too.
(Pretty view during a hike in Monteverde)
For the past four months, I have been teaching completely by myself (not in a duo like a few months ago) and creating my own curriculum. It has been quite a whirlwind. At times I feel very overwhelmed and some days are absolutely crazy, since I am constantly running back and forth between two schools and doing a two-person job by myself. I genuinely love most of my students, but the behavior still continues to be a problem I deal with on a constant basis. I have some classes that are absolutely adorable (like my preschoolers who just MELT my heart everyday) and then some classes that are just absolute chaos.
(Little cuties performing for El Día de Trabajo, or the Costa Rican Labor Day)
This might be a strange thing to remark on, because sometimes my days are so ridiculous I feel like I’m on a reality tv show, but I am REALLY proud of myself. I never thought I would be able to do all this workload by myself. I have created a curriculum for 8 different groups of children between the ages of 4-12 with varying abilities, taught all by myself, and learned how to effectively control a classroom of easily distracted children all in Spanish. I have also learned I can be a force to be reckoned with when I use my “teacher voice” (you know, the voice your teachers always used when you or your classmates were goofing off and it kinda scared you into paying attention? Yeah, I’ve mastered that).
(My sweet puppy Canelo who I adopted after he wandered into our gate - more on him to come in my next post!)
I feel like even though I’ve always been super bubbly and extroverted (hello, I was Tour Guide Kate for four years!), speaking in front of a classroom always scared the crap out of me, for lack of better words. In college I had the terrible habit of staying up all night before a big presentation, going over and over the material because I was so nervous. The next day, I would be basically a mess and on so much caffeine that I would inevitably still be shaky and end up fumbling my words, talking too fast, or feel lightheaded (read: what NOT to do in college). Now, I can go in front of a large group of students and command a room entirely in Spanish, which is something I NEVER thought I would be able to do. Although I still write down my lessons, now I do more of a rough plan and just wing the rest. I can do this now not only because I have more Spanish, but because I have more confidence in my abilities here, as well.
(Las Ruinas del Resurrección - A beautiful abandoned monastary in Antigua, Guatemala)
I don’t want this to get too lengthy because I know y’all have better things to do than just read my rants. I think that one thing a lot of us do (especially women) is get nervous and kinda freak out, and intently apologize after. I used to be the worst at this, constantly saying “I’m sorry” and getting frazzled when things don’t go exactly as planned. This year I not only learned to be confident in front of a crowd, but also just to CHILL OUT and have faith that it will somehow all work out. Half the time this year I felt like everything was crumbling before my eyes, but it comes to a point where you have done all you can and that’s all you can do. And guess what? It all somehow works out in the end (with the help of caffeine, some deep breathing exercises, and a little faith to top it off).
(All of the YASCers meeting the wonderful Bishop Michael Curry at a Conference in Ponce, Puerto Rico)
I am planning on doing a recap post of all my travels this upcoming week (and yes I PROMISE it’ll be this week!!). I just wanted to do a little post to let everyone know I’m alive and well. Thank you so much to everyone who has given me so much love and support throughout this whole process. I am so so grateful <3